All was looking good. Jerry Peston-Ladd was happy everything was as it should be and a brief road test indicated all was well.

So, the moment of truth. The greatest automotive story ever told (possibly) was coming to an end. Only one thing to do, load up and head south…

South Bound and Down

Armed with the trusty, and very heavy, transporter I headed sarf of the river, Indian country I’m told…

The sight that greeted me brought a tear to my eye. Lady Marilyn, and one of her sisters, were waiting for me to arrive.

two E-Types

No sooner had I extracted myself from the van after a 270 mile non-stop run than my lady came out of her resting place…

People who’ve built, or restored, a car will appreciate how much of a genuinely special moment this is. She’s far from finished, but she’s mechanically done.

Jerry explained the details of his work and some of the special features installed along the way.

Next we paid a visit to Jerry’s other project, the restoration of a 1917 steam locomotive no. 4253. This is another nut and bolt rebuild, but on a huge scale. Its all done by volunteers and, end-to-end, its likely to be a 10 year project.

The website is here 4253 and if its your thing, or even if it isn’t, why now drop them a few quid? There are a number of goodies in the sales and promotions section.


Back to base and time to load Lady Marilyn…

E type trailer

To be fair, this isn’t the perfect trailer for the job, so we had to adapt. The triple carb configuration requires the engine to sit a little lower and this means the sump would catch first followed by the exhaust and chassis. We unhitched the trailer used the rear stabilising legs and jacked it up with the nose wheel to get a good angle. Even then a couple of blocks of wood were required to get an extra couple of inches…

With patience and care we got there…

e type transport

Nearly time to say good bye, for now, to Jerry Preston-Ladd, without who’s help I’d still be months and months away from finishing. Jerry’s technical ability is astonishing and he knowledge of Challenger E Types unparalleled. He’s become a good friend over the past 5 months too.

Jerry Preston-Ladd

Here’s the old boy with his trademark grin 🙂

I managed to dodge the monsoons that typified this years Easter break and later that very evening she was back home tucked away in the snug (as in 2 inches clearance) garage in Yorkshire.

E-Type home

We had noticed one of the headlights had rotated in its pod. Not something we’d had off as the wiring terminated outside the pod. As the next job was an MOT it needed fettling so off came the headlight cover for a look-see.

E Type head Lamp

Here’s the final legacy of the previous owners work. The only bit of original wiring left and the final bodge. Easy enough to replace and that was done. the headlamp was secured and everything bolted back up again.

The next day was MOT day, I set off in between showers for my local testing station where she was driven onto the ramp in nervous anticipation.

E type MOT

Whilst on the ramp it was a good change to take some underside pictures.


and the front suspension

Some time later the good news came along with a pass certificate.

So she’s on the road!

I still have the roof to sort out and the internal trim to improve, but she’s now a rolling restoration.

Next bits on the list

Make the door card fit properly – currently catching on the cill

Repair the roof – its about an inch short at the rear

Interior trim panels – tidy up for now – replace at a later date

new wheels – the 185’s are period, but I prefer the 205 option tyre

Bonnet pushers – make a pair of new ones.

but mostly….

Drive the bloody backside off the car and smile like the village idiot.




Not many people realise that Joseph Lucas developed the first anti theft device, a 50:50 chance that the car would start…

Being the proud owner of a car so equipped I could marvel at the intermittent wiper and the world famous panel light modes, dim, flicker and off.  Lets not forget the self dimming headlight too.

The rebuild of lady Marilyn is, in the truest sense of the word, a nut and bolt rebuild. I do not believe that there’s a single bolt that hasn’t been out over the last three and a half years. The exception to this was the harness. The mighty electrical system and its two, yes two, fuses had served the car well. It must have done as it hadn’t burned to a crisp when I made the mistake of using the window washers with the headlights on. In fact, the harness had stopped smoking at all, which meant either topping up the harness smoke reservoir, or changing it completely.

Harness smoking

Jerry Preston-Ladd has developed a new harness for the Challenger E, this is the reason it originally went to him. This update is the story of that harness.

The old harness was stripped out of the car and any usable parts retained (such as the headlight relay) the rest of the junk was consigned to the bin.

There were some oddities with the wiring which I can’t blame on Lucas. The headlights for instance, these were “joined to” (read twisted around) the indicators. The front side lights were attached to nothing at all. The total rewire was a mandatory feature of the rebuild.

NS light wiring

What was going though their mind? I know Lady Marilyn was used as a publicity car for a time and maybe this was a desired feature, but the execution was truly pants…

The biggest concentration of harness activity happens around the centre dash. This is where the gauges and switches are afterall and this is also where the fuse blocks were located. The brown power leads went in first. The dash is wired through an ammeter so everything goes through that first before shooting off to its various locations.

E type dash wiring 1

In this picture the finished heater controls can be seen. another lovely job and the proper look for the car. As a new heater had been fitted the levers now drive a microswitch which operates an electric water valve. A neater solution than the cable operated alternative.


The signal wires went next as most of the functions are relay operated to cut down on the switched load.

E type dash connections

Connector blocks were added for the engine and gearbox (makes removal a doddle) and also for the bonnet – which needs to come off if you’re doing anything much more that peering under it.


Jerry also added a some antitheft devices to the harness. I’m not quite daft enough to detail them, but there are clever and add a degree of protection against Mr Scumbag Car-thief.

Once the wiring was in place, it could be extensively tested before being taped up for good.

There was one particularly joyous moment when Jerrry sent me a phote of the front lights. They were:-

  1. On
  2. With sidelights
  3. Controlled by a switch
  4. Not on fire.

I may have shed a tear at that point.

P1050076a (2)

So, the wiring was complete, better than the original, fully fuse protected and installed with a quality that old Joseph could only dream of. Job done, happy days.


A Dash of Style….

We’re at the stage where things are starting to go together again… Starting with the centre dash. The refurbed gauges have been fitted to the new stainless steel dot peened finish plate. The original was aluminium but this marks too easily hence the move to stainless, a far more durable solution.

The face plate of the oil pressure gauge has move a little, probably when the new bezel was fitted, so this will need aligning again. They are so fiddly to get right…

e type centre dash

what a think of beauty, especially when compared to what came off….


Theres a new legend plate to finish the job off.

The drivers dash is a brand new original part and the newly converted glove box was also re-trimmed in new leather cloth to give the whole dash the new look treatment.

E type glove box

The heater control levers seem to be an NLA item and have been on back order for a while. Jerry cured this by making a pair of levers to fit the bracket. We’ll be using one of them to control a solenoid water valve so needs to operate a microswitch. The other is just for show.

E Type heater lever

and with the lever ends in place

E type heater escucheon


The chassis was given a rub down and a new coat of paint. The paint colour was “scanned” and formulated by computer. Its not an exact match, but as its under bonnet I’m not overly concerned. Its netter to have a uniform colour than the blotchy mess that the car came with.

Challenger e type chassis

Elsewhere the upper column UJ finally turned up and was fitted to the freshly painted lower column.

Challenger E type chassis paint

The reservoirs and btacket have now been fitted tot he newly made bulkhead panel and its starting to look more complete.

challenger bulkhead trim

bulkhead challenger

The steering rack was also treated to a coat of paint. This is another part is isn’t seen, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected. I’ll know its been painted and, in many ways, thats the reason. The car has been in rebuild phase for 3 years now, its good to make sure everything is just so.

challenger steering rack

Its all coming together nicely!









A Merry Jerry Christmas

Those that visit here often will know how painfully slow this project is progressing…. I am acutely aware and frequently reminded that its 3 years since The E Type rolled off the trailer, and refused to start, for the first time.

Something needed to be done, and I wasn’t doing it nearly fast enough. I needed a hero to step in. All the way through the build I’ve had constant support and encouragement from the Club Technical Officer, Jerry Preston-Ladd. Jerry has built or substantially improved a number of Challengers and his knowledge and skill are beyond compare in the real world. He’s also rebuilding a steam locomotive, which is no mean feat. If your a lover of this blog, throw a few quid their way as its an expensive old process.

4253 Locomotive

So I called Jerry and asked if he had a slot on his waiting list I could slide Lady Marilyn into. As luck would have it he’d just finished a lovely Challenger and he was only waiting for its owner to collect it.

Piece of cake, I’ll trailer my car down and deliver the other one to its owner.

so, the plans were laid. I’d collect all the bits and bobs together, set off on an expedition to the mysterious land of “The South” and I could once again begin to dream of having a completed car.

All the updates that will follow this point are Jerry’s work, with some help from Gary (a fellow enthusiast) where more hands are required.

Prepare to Marvel at the work that goes into the car now and the rate of progress that outstrips anything I could have dreamed of.

So, Here she is ready for her trip to Chez Jerry

way down

and once down there was the small matter of delivering Roys car, which really is a cracker, but I didnt take a cracking picture of it…


As soon as I got home the updates started flowing….. Read on.


Off with her head…..

With the lump out of the car, it was time to have a poke around. first job to split the gearbox off

e type engine 4.2

Easy enough even it there are loads of bolts to undo, all of them behaved and quick as a flash….


Next came the pressure plate and low and behold, the friction plate is knackered… It was getting changed anyhow so no great shakes, what is amazing is how well it drove in the state it was in, no judders and a smooth take off..

e type clutch

The flywheel will need dressing too when I rebuild as there is some marking on the surface, but again, no great shakes.

I bought an engine stand to make life easier which is both a good and less good thing. The stand itself is fine, but as its the heavy duty version its too wide at the front to get the crane in and mount the engine, it needed a bit of swing….

e type engine stand

I needed some longer bolts to mount the engine to the stand and I wasn’t entirely confident that they’s be ok, but they’ve turned out fine. I mounted the engine and left the crane on loose while I rocked, pushed and lent on the engine and all was good. I used 4 inch long 3/8 UNF bolts, grade 10.9 to be safe, they were fine with a few hardened washers. – but I could have gotten away with 3.5″. I figured I could add washers, but it was harder to add length – god knows I’m aware of that problem.

Once all was tight, secure and generally very happy, I added some degreaser and a light jet wash, it didn’t need much, another telltale that the engine hasn’t seen much use in all its years in the car.

xj6 engine


Now for the head studs, as hidden behind the core plugs. As mentioned previously corrosion is very much evident and they need to be changed. I cleared the crud out with the aid of a dentists pick and airline and left the soaking in WD40 whilst I get on with other jobs. This part of the project weighs heavily on my mind and I’ve sent and SOS to my friend, and resident expert, Jerry Preston-Ladd of the challenger owners club for advice. If I shag this up I could be looking at a new block…

IMG_5311 e type core plugs

Before stripping the engine I’d done compression checks and all seemed fine. but the head needs to come off anyway for general inspection and any remedial work necessary, so it was out with the crane again.

Having released the tension on the top cam chain, I undid the 4 bolts per cam sprocket and slid them along the tracks to clear the head. This is a great design feature, made the whole exercise so much easier… I also tie wrapped the cam chain to the sprockets first – not entirely sure why as its getting changed anyway, but, at the time it seemed like a good idea. Unlike many of my other “good idea at the time” decisions, this one wont cost me a house 🙂

e type engine

Next I took off all the head nuts and the 6 bolts at the front of the engine and introduced the crane again. With a little load on the head and wd 40 sprayed around each of the head studs to my surprise the head began to move…

Jaguar 4.2 head removal

I’ve heard so many horror stories of the heads being corroded onto the blocks, but mine just lifted easily requiring nothing more and a gentle rocking to make sure it lifted evenly. Before I knew it I had a head off….

jaguar 4.2 head

Happy days!

There is something very satisfying about engine rebuilds, its like surgery, bringing life back to those who were losing it. I mean, how hard can an operation be? Surgeons don’t have to worry about differential corrosion, collects or cam timing…. Tish, easy life…

Just a little time left for a quick glance at the bores and pistons, and yet again, all looks good. This appears to be a low mileage engine that’s just suffering from a lack of use, so often the problems with cherished cars…

e type pistonJaguar bore

My time with this phase had run out… and it was time to pack up for the evening. Daughter Sophy decided that I didn’t need the full 4.2 litres of jaguar engineering and, apparently, daughter power trumps horse power every time.


IMG_5350 IMG_5353

I’ll see how she likes it when I connect the propshaft…..

thats all folks


Spanners out again…

it seems all the stars aligned and a day in the garage beckoned.

Over the past few weeks its been a case of a bit here and a little there. One by one the IRS components have neared completion in their own right ant it was time to see if the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts.

With Jerry’s trusty rebuild guide to hand, I set forth. I haven’t lockwired anything in years, so after torquing the output shaft bolts and the inner pivot brackets (correctly shimmed) its was out with the lock wire and a tiny pair of mole grips in place of the proper pliers. I only managed to stab myself a handful of times and once I’d wiped the blood away know one will notice.

I found it easier to do everything with the diff in the cage as its keeps everything located properly.


Next came the caliper assemblies. I had to remove the adjuster screw on the handbrake calipers before they’d go over the disc with the diff in the cage, but that’s an easy enough job. key part here was to center the referbed calipers on the new discs. It took two shims to reach the optimum position…


I bought new shims as those that came off had some surface corrosion and to my mind if they are to set the correct distance, then they need to be free of surface blemishes and be of known thickness. heres how the old ones looked…

jag camber shims

next it was time to torque the caliper mounting bolts – where are very carefully positioned such that you don’t have a chance in hell of getting a socket anywhere near them. So, I torqued up a bolt elsewhere with a torque wrench, and then felt the resistance using a long handled ring spanner. I then translated this to the caliper bolts. this was followed with yet more lockwire – I could have done with some child labor at this point (my hands are too big for this job) but I persevered and eventually the job was done.


Next came the wishbones and the unbridled joy that is lining up the seals and thrust washers for the inner pivot. I found the best way to do this was to support the wishbone on a brick, use the lower damper shaft to locate one side (this has a useful taper on the end and is happily the same diameter as the pivot shaft) and then wrestle the otherside throught he pivot shaft. The its a case of drifting the pivot shaft (gently) through to the second bearing which displaces the damper mounting shaft as it gets home.

I did struggle a little with the alignment of the final boss on the cage and had to slacken the 4 diff mounting bolts and use a bit of wood to help me.


But soon enough the job was done. same again on the other side and hey-presto.



I added the second pair of sims to the drive side of the disc (4 shims per side in total) and torqued the drive shaft nuts (no washers here) and couldn’t resist dropping the hub and dampers on to see what its going to look like when finished, I also checked I’d got the right hub on the right side by checking the spinner worked in the correct direction.


So that’s where we are.

I’ve ordered a remote bleed kit from Fossway performance (, which should be here by the weekend and I should be able to crack on to completion.

Before I sign off, id like to say hello to the followers in America, Brazil, Holland, Portugal, France, Australia, South Africa, Bermuda and Poland.

Isn’t it amazing how the internet makes access borderless? Thank you to everyone who reads this – I hope  at least some of you enjoy!


A comedy of errors….

One of the things I’m learning about rebuilding a classic car is how and where to get the bits I need. Like all things there’s a pay-off depending on the driving forces at the time.

SC parts are a staple supplier, they carry most things and have a great delivery system. The down side is they cost a bit more than others. British Parts are generally cheaper, but have a much smaller range and I’ve had issues with missing bits which they wont replace because I didn’t advise them with in 3 nano-seconds of receiving the box (just a tad of exaggeration there). Ebay is generally low cost but a bit of a lottery as to what you get – although many of the main suppliers sell stuff on Ebay that works out cheaper than there own on line shop. Something to look out for.

I recently found The Hutson Motor group in Bradford, they were falling over themselves to be helpful, had a massive range of parts available and took the time to show me round their very impressive facility when I popped in to collect a dash panel.

Then there’s Ward Engineering, I considered rebuilding the hubs myself, but I lack the measuring equipment necessary and there are some turned parts needed as part of the assembly process and I was a little conscious of messing it up. So I went to Ward as they describe themselves as the best… I sent my hubs and calipers off for a rebuild on 24th April on an advised 2-3 week lead time. They finally turned up on 8th July 11 weeks later. Not only were they late, they were sent to the wrong address and when I finally retrieved them a couple of parts were missing, one being the locking wire. None of this detracts from the quality of their work, which looks excellent, just be careful if the job is time critical.

So the forced hiatus that I’ve had on the suspension rebuild is over – at least when I’ve sourced the missing bits from Ward – and I can get the old girl back onto 4 wheels again.

I started with the shimming of the diff mounting brackets. I’d already tried to use a feeler gauge, but theres nothing like doing it properly, with real parts, so I ordered a bunch more than I thought I needed.


So, process, as described in Jerry Preston-Ladds article. I pushed the shaft through the cage mounting and let the thread engage with the mounting bracket hole. As the shaft is a bigger diameter you can see how the alignment is between the shaft and the hole.  Add a shim, do it again. One happy with that one I pushed the shaft all the way through to the second cage mount and used the alignment method the determine the shims needed there. Do it for both sides.

Its not a 5 minute job, but its worth doing right.

The absence of locking wire meant I couldn’t do a whole lot more on the IRS, so I went about assembling the brakes.



heres one calliper just resting on the new disk. What I actually needed to do was assemble the handbrake calipers to the main callipers.

Lots of trial building going on to make sure I had all the bits aligned right – you cant be too careful and a couple of trial fits to make sure the finished caliper would go back properly


The its a case of lubricating everything with wheel bearing grease (not copper clip – which cant handle the high temperatures) and tightening the new pins and securing with the new locking tabs, adding the brake pipes



Meanwhile I’ve been rebuilding the dashboard to get that into a tip top condition, the Rev counter and speedo refurb were covered last time, heres what else has been going on with the dash area.

the Hutsons replacement dash looks the business with the referbed parts and new indicator unit.


e type dash 2IMG_4892

I’m modifying the choke lever to work on a micro switch and then I think I’m done 🙂

Once the locking wire is here, I can continue with the IRS build, but before I go, id like to talk about the bolts. Each and every bolt taken off has been individually cleaned on the wire wheel, pickled and then oil coated. It takes a bit of time but it means I don’t introduce thread contamination and it looks good…


right, till next time in the work of skinned knuckles, I bid you farewell



Details, details, details

There have been many hours invested in the past couple of weeks, on refection it was all to do with symmetry…

I managed to get the right hand side rear bumper to look right, the left was another matter. I could get it to look ok, but not symetrical. what followed was a seemingly endless series of on/off fitting exercises spaced by minor alterations to the body or bumper mounting. In the end though, I was happy with the look of the are from the rear, and what a rear it is…

IMG_4762 IMG_4761 IMG_4780 IMG_4778

I also pulled the petrol tank out to allow me to detail the boot floor properly and also paint the tank and replace the sender – which was playing up anyway. To be fair the tank needs to come out to bolt the rear bumper in the correct way, so it was a necessary job given the previous owner had decided that three were too many bolts for a bumper and two were plenty meaning that tank could stay put.


Whilst I’m killing time waiting for the calipers and hubs to come back from reconditioning I thought I’d put the rear shocks back together. The springs are newly powder coated, the seats and collects are zinc plated – oh and a big up for the platers silchrome who very kindly slapped me with a sizable “minimum charge” after promising to add the parts to a production run. Bless them.

Anyway, I managed to change these scruffy units


into these shiny examples of loveliness ready for reassembly into the IRS


new poly bushes, shown here warming up in a bucket of hot water before pressing into the the dampers


Another job that needed doing was measuring for the wishbone mounting bracket shims. Easy enough with Jerrys how to guide.


Then it was just a case of stripping back down whilst I wait for the shims to arrive, along with the ton of stuff from Ward Engineering.

I’m fairly certain that rebuilding a Challenger is one of the most enjoyable ways of going bankrupt, no messing with debt collectors (yet) just a gradual reduction in the bank balance….

Just for a wheeze I decided to take the steering wheel off and fit the new indicator mechanism so that I could measure up for making a E-Type indicator shroud with out the expense of buying a new one (likely priced at the annual GDP  of Cuba). The wheel wouldnt budge, further investigation lead to the discovery of some kind of self tapping screw between the column and the wheel boss. Surely not I hear you cry, but yes, sadly, its was really there.


You can just about spot it in the above picture, at the 12 o’clock position.

That rather ruined my day, I reached for my current favorite book “101 reasons not to visit the  previous owner, and kick his teeth in”, when I’d calmed down a bit I posted on the club forum looking for advice on which columns would fit and to my delight Anthony Jones told me he had a spare and that I could have it. Faith in humanity restored I arranged to have the new one collected and here it is, along with another cracking purchase, the parts book – beats the Haynes Manual all day long.



Ebay provided the missing lock nut and so that’s another job I can get to whilst waiting for the rest of the suspension stuff.

So, another job I can tick off the list..

There is a growing pile of painted parts accumulating now, so the next installment – hopefully – will be all about the rebuild of the IRS in all its magnificence.

That’s all folks!


More E Type carbs

Well todays “just finishing off” went a bit wayward. Carbs two and three fastened back on and I noticed that the throttle linkages didn’t seam to allow the butterflies to fully open, there was a bracket fowling the casting on the linkage assembly. Carb 3 off again and lets get the linkage out for a look.


e type linkage


The bracket at the top is the guilty party. I’m not sure if its a non original part from something else that fits fine but catches on full throttle.. While its off I’ll clean it up a bit.. Ah, that reviled another issue. Only one of the linkages is original, the others are home made.

e type throttle linkage

Its important that they all the same length, and , to be fair, they are. Not good enough for me though, its got to be right so its back to Burlen for some more new parts. I want some new float bowl banjos anyway – the current ones are too grubby on the inside and I don’t want any more contamination inside my newly rebuilt cards…

more when the next batch of new parts arrive.


Lady Marilyn, the Duchess of E

Lady Marilyn, the Duchess of E

E Type series 1  E Type Jag s1e type s1 ots

The latest addition to Trev’s Fleet is the lady Marilyn. She’s a cracker on the outside but needs a fair bit of work on the mechanicals. The subject of some legal proceedings as the vendor deliberately concealed some major faults – a lesson to all car buyers there.


Lady Marilyn has had a famous past, she’s appeared in numerous photo-shoots, a TV series (mutual friends with Rickey Gervais and Alexander Armstrong) and most recently in the Lotto TV add.

Lottery small

As for right now though, we need to get her mechanically sound


The first job it to get her to start properly. It’s all about fuel, theres no choke as such just a Thermostatic Enrichment Device, an extra and very simple carburettor that works by taking fuel from another carb, mixing with air via a single adjustable needle which is then sucked into he manifold. Its controlled by an electro magnet which opens or closes the inlet tract dependent upon engine temperature (sensed by an otter switch)


Great theory, but it didn’t work. Lots of surface tinkering gave me nothing, so its out with the spanners and off with the carb. There’s a technical description for what I found, it was bollixed. The float bowl was swimming in crud, the transfer pipe to the thermo carb was blocked, the diaphragm punctured and the float full of petrol. The needle valve was in the float bowl and the banjo’s were all ceased.

It took a days work just to get it apart, a small fortune in replacement parts (all of which are thankfully still available)


Carb one (actually the third of three but the easiest one to start with and also has the thermo carb attached)




Some cleaning and after centering the main jet (VERY IMPORTANT) its mostly back together


IMG_4067[1] IMG_4068[1]


Now on to the second carb



This one wasnt as bad, but was still full of debris


More cleaning, new diaphragm and a rebuild later and we have number two




Still short of some bits (floats, dashpot screws etc) but together enough to tackle the remaining carb.


More later……